What is Home Care?

"Home care" is a simple phrase that encompasses a wide range of care and social services. Services such as Personal Care, Medication Reminders, Transportation, Companionship for those needing assistance with the essential activities of daily living can be delivered by hourly or live-in caregivers. It is a way for families to enable their loved ones to remain living independently, in their own homes, wherever that may be.

In broader terms, home care often revolves around the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). ADLs are basic activities and functions performed on a daily basis that are usually done without assistance. The six ADLs are:

  • eating
  • dressing
  • bathing
  • grooming
  • transferring 
  • continence

IADLs, on the other hand, are those activities instrumental to our daily routines such as:

  • driving
  • preparing meals
  • doing housework
  • shopping
  • managing finances
  • managing medication
  • using the telephone

With the ability to personalize services, home care allows seniors the flexibility to adjust their care to meet their individual needs, when and as they see fit.

What is Assisted Living?

Offered in a community setting, Assisted Living is for seniors who need help with the activities of daily life yet wish to remain as independent as possible. Assisted Living community residents enjoy the added assistance of personal care. Services can be increased or decreased over time as needed.

What is Skilled Nursing?

For those rehabilitating from some kind of medical condition (stroke, operation, etc.), skilled nursing facilities are typically hospital-like settings.

What is Hospice?

Hospice is palliative end-of-life care. Palliative means comfort care, and the purpose of Hospice is to ease pain, and bring relief to the patient and their family. The process of life includes this journey. Hospice utilizes interdisciplinary teams including medical, spiritual, and psychosocial aspects, each bringing their own level of care and expertise to your loved one.

How do I know when it's time to seek help for the care of my loved one in order to maintain my own health?

A study of elderly spouse caregivers, aged 66 to 96: found that caregivers who experience mental or emotional strain have a 63% higher risk of dying than non-caregivers. Caregivers are often so concerned with care for their relative's needs, that they lose sight of their own wellbeing. For more information, click on the When You are the Caregiver.

What are the Costs of Non-Medical In-Home Care?

The national average hourly rate for homemaker/companions was $19 in 2009, according to the 2009 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home, Assisted Living, Adult Day Services, and Home Care Costs. Other resources list the hourly cost between $15 and $25, depending on where you live. We encourage you to explore your choices and compare home care to other types of care using one of these resources:

As you can see, many of these resources are related to long term care studies and insurances. While more and more long-term care insurance companies are covering this option, home care, especially non-medical care, is still primarily paid for by the family or the seniors themselves. The Boomer Project’s research found that 52% of care recipients were paying for their own home care needs.

How does home care compare to the cost of home health, assisted living and other forms of care?

According to John Hancock’s 2011 Cost of Care Survey, other senior care options are even more expensive that non-medical care:

  • The 2011 average cost of a private nursing home room was $235 a day/ $85,775 annually.
  • The 2011 average cost of a semi-private nursing home room was $207 a day/ $75,555 annually.
  • The 2011 average cost for a month in an assisted living facility was $3,270 a month/ $39,240 annually.
  • The 2011 average cost for a home health aide was $20 hourly/$37,440 annually.

Unlike for home care services, Medicare will pay for some of these types of services; however, as most caregivers know, the senior is still responsible for a heavy portion of these expenses. More importantly, these services, with the exception of home health aides, are full-time expenses that require a senior to move out of the comfortable surroundings of their own home.

Home care services are often only required for a few hours a week in order to make a significant impact on the seniors’ lives and allow them to continue to remain in their own homes. In fact, this could represent a savings of thousands of dollars a month, when compared to nursing homes and assisted living facilities.